This is an early film by Bruce McDonald filmed on a tiny budget over a few weeks traveling the wilds in Canada. It tells the story of Ramona, sent to recover an errant band who are in ... See full summary »
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Jorge M. Roman
This is an early film by Bruce McDonald filmed on a tiny budget over a few weeks traveling the wilds in Canada. It tells the story of Ramona, sent to recover an errant band who are in danger of missing the final date in their tour. After obtaining the job through falsely claiming to be able to drive, she hires a taxi cab to drive her the hundreds / thousands of miles required to get the job done. On the way she meets a variety of characters from a trainee serial killer (who moans that the only jobs available in Canada are ice hockey players or serial killers, and he's no good at ice hockey) who's finding it hard to get off the ground, to a film crew desperate for some live action gore, to a silent young man who refuses to speak as 'he has nothing left to say any more'. The conclusion to the film is just great, as the spaghetti of apparently isolated plot lines are tied together in a thumping final scene. In true road movie style, Ramona gradually develops and breaks out as she ... Written by
Chris Ewels <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Bruce McDonald originally conceived the film as a concert film focusing on the band A Neon Rome, but the band's lead singer, Neal Arbik, was uncooperative during the tour which the planned film was to focus on. Arbik eventually left the music industry before the film could get made as well as before his band's planned second album could even be recorded. Instead, the film became a fictionalized portrayal of A Neon Rome, depicting a band on the verge of collapsing in a similar manner. See more »
Russel, are you really a serial killer?
Well, I've never really killed anyone before, but that's what I'm shooting for. That's my ambition. I know it's a hard profession, and it's a competive field and getting tougher every year. You have to kill about 20 people now before you're taken seriously, But let's face it, what other options do I have? There's not a lot of opportunities up here for social mobility. I mean you can either become a hockey player or take up a life of crime. And I have weak...
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...hardly any animals were killed during the shooting of this movie... See more »
Ramona is sent to recover a rock band (Children of Paradise) which is in danger of missing its final tour date, and on her surreal and absurd trip meets several strange characters, most memorably a frustrated wannabe serial killer who is struggling to get his career off the ground, and who claims to have been driven to his choice by necessity ("what other options do I have? There's not a lot of opportunities up here for social mobility. I mean you can either become a hockey player or take up a life of crime. And I have weak ankles, so there you go") played by screenwriter Don McKellar in the role and film which launched his now prestigious career as actor and writer/director. It's a simple story, and the several plot strands are brought together in a scene near the end that is a real love it or hate it section of the film, apparently.
The film works in almost every regard- the mosaic-like, episodic nature of the narrative, the clever, witty dialogue and surreal situational dramedy which would become Don McKellar's biggest asset as writer, the immense soundtrack, even the direction by Bruce McDonald. "Roadkill" is, perhaps, my favorite ultra-low-budget film, simply because it's got an energy and verve that more than compensates for any flaws, and while it works brilliantly on its own terms, "Roadkill" is a conventionally flawed film, I suppose: there is some bad acting, and thanks to its non-existent budget and the fact that it was shot on 8mm, it doesn't look especially great. Still, one thing that struck me most on this latest viewing was how well-made the film is, all things considered. The editing works, even the potentially pretentious jump cuts, and there's some really good photography, especially considering the medium.
The most special thing about "Roadkill", perhaps, is that it isn't limited by the time or location it's set in, or when it was released. When I saw the film at age 18 at a screening populated mostly by people too young to have seen the film when it became a pre-Tarantino, pre-"Clerks" indie hit in 1989/1990, the enthusiasm the audience had for the film was palpable. There is an inspired energy about this film that makes even the superb screenplay seem insignificant in comparison to the conviction and enthusiasm the film was made with. When the film received a standing ovation at the end, it was out of sheer enthusiasm, and not out of polite respect.
The end result with this film is sure to be polarizing, and the humor probably won't work for a lot of people, but this is low budget gonzo film-making at its best, and to learn the whole story behind the film and the dubious methods of promotion those involved used (including getting the soundtrack on the Canadian charts by sneaking copies off record store shelves) one simply must listen to the commentary track on the DVD, which is easily as entertaining as the film itself, if not more. This is an essential piece of Canadian film, the birth of modern Canadian independent film-making, and in my estimation one of the most deserving winners of best Canadian film at the Toronto International Film Festival. The pseudo-sequel to this, "Highway 61", often feels like a pale imitation and has about a tenth of the charm, but it's still worth watching. The third film in McDonald's 'road trilogy', "Hard Core Logo" is nearly as good as "Roadkill" is, and more technically polished.
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